The Original ‘Star Wars’ Screenplay Proves That Han Always Shot First
It’s one of the most contentious arguments in all of fandom. In the original Star Wars, did Han Solo casually execute the bounty hunter Greedo or did he only return fire in self defense? In 1977, it was definitely the former. In the remastered “special editions,” George Lucas digitally modified the scene so it was the latter, claiming it was always his intent. Now, script pages from 1976 have surfaced and they seemingly settle this debate once and for all.
This is where things get a little weird, so bear with us. Last year, the CBC reported that a copy of the fourth draft of Star Wars, dated 3/15/76, was discovered at the University of New Brunswick Library. How it ended up there is an excellent question, but librarian Kristian Brown discovered the screenplay while digitizing the library’s science fiction collection. When asked about the authenticity of the screenplay, Lucasfilm confirmed that it appeared to be a real deal … in that it was a fan-made replica of Lucas’ original screenplay, which used to be big sellers at fan conventions. So it’s a fake copy of a real thing, found buried away in a Canadian library. Okay.
The script does have some noteworthy differences, like the subtitle of “Saga 1” or Luke Skywalker being named “Luke Starkiller.” Most importantly, that Cantina confrontation makes it very clear that Han shoots first. Says Brown:
I’ll tell you one thing, right now. Based on the script, I can tell you 100 per cent, Han shot first.
And now, another piece of fuel has been thrown on this particular fire. Actor Peter Mayhew, best known for playing the mighty Wookiee Chewbacca, posted photos of his original copy of the Star Wars script on his Twitter page:
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) March 2, 2016
That scene is awfully close to what transpires in the theatrical cut and it remains a quick and darkly hilarious way of establishing what kind of guy Han Solo really is. Yes, he’s a murderous rogue before he becomes a hero. Let’s not forget that.
There are still questions to be asked. When did Greedo get his real name? Is “Allen” simply a misspelling of “Alien” or was that really Greedo’s original name? These questions don’t have answers yet, but old school Star Wars fans now have more leverage than ever in this case. Yes, Han shot first and he was always supposed to shoot first.
Your move now, Mr. Lucas.